We were having breakfast-coffee and there was a lot of bee talk — did you know that when it gets really hot a bunch of bees (workers/females directed by drones/males) whiz off to collect water which they place as micro-droplets in various of the comb cavities, and then back off to beat their wings madly to effect an evaporation cooler?

Another caffeinist was telling about one of the old people he works with — and demonstrating that unsettling head-wobbling incoherence that comes with dementia: Anyway, she goes on like this, and then they bring her a cup of tea and just like that she sits upright and says, ‘Ah, tea, the panacea of all ailments’ — and then as abruptly falls back into her illness.

So someone said, referencing the hi-brow cliche, That tea was like her madeleine!

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What madeleine?

You know, tea and madeleine, that little cake, looks like a scallop shell. He can’t remember anything, and then he has tea and madeleine and it all comes flooding back, the involuntary memories. But he’s not having tea, he’s lying in bed, or no, he’s recalling having tea, and it triggers off the memories.

Yes, they called it ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ for a long time, but something else now . . .

‘In Search of Lost Time’?

What madeleine? What lost time?

You know — Proust.

Proust? Which movie was that?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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